Weiser Financial Planning
President & Chief Compliance Officer
Ryan Weiser founded Weiser Financial Planning LLC after working many years in the corporate world. He chose to open WFP because he wanted to create a business with a noble purpose where he could combine his entrepreneurial side with his passion for helping people to make wise financial decisions. Ryan believes that money is just a tool and that it's important to help people connect their money with the things that are most important to them.
Ryan worked in the financial services industry since 2000 working for several Fortune 500 companies. Over those years he has consulted with hundreds of financial advisors from various financial institutions including banks, insurance companies, wirehouses, and independent broker/dealers. Through this experience he's had the opportunity to help thousands of clients and positively impact their lives.
One of Ryan's driving motivations in building a new financial planning business was to separate from the Wall Street firms, banks, and insurance companies where he is not handcuffed by proprietary products, sales incentives, and conflicts of interest that are intended to maximize company returns at the expense of his clients. As an independent RIA Ryan and his team are completely free to focus on their clients and what's in their best interest.
Ryan is originally from upstate New York where he often makes quick road-trips back to visit with family and friends. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport and earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. He has continued his education and passion for financial services by continually growing to be a better advisor and find new ways to improve his clients' lives. In doing so he has earned the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®), and Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL®) designations through The American College. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional through the CFP® Board and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) practitioner that is awarded through the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.
BS, Mathematics, State University of New York at Brockport
Everyone is familiar with the cliche to not put all of your eggs in one basket. This is often referenced in the financial world to diversifiying your investments. Likewise it can be applied to diversifying your future retirement income as well. Traditional 401k/IRA, pension income, and. social security (depending on combined income) is taxed as ordinary income. It makes sense to have some tax-free income in retirement from sources such as a Roth IRA and Roth 401k. Based on your retirement income needs you could manage your future taxes at retirement by withdrawing an amount of taxable income equal to the top amount in a particular tax bracket, without stepping up into a new marginal tax rate. The remainder of your annual income could then be withdrawn from your Roth’s without impacting your taxable income.
The question shouldn’t necessarily be if you should contribute to a Roth, but rather how much. As mentioned above the same principles apply to contributing to your traditional and Roth accounts. Contribute an amount to the traditional 401k that will bring your taxable income down below the current marginal tax bracket. The remaining contributions can then be directed to the Roth 401k.
Generally speaking this would help optimize your current pre-tax contibutions while balancing the flexibility of your future taxable income. Nobody knows what future tax rates will be, but having flexibility allows you to adjust as necesssary. Additionally, just because someone might be generating a lower income in retirement does not necessarily mean that they will be in a lower tax rate. We are currently in a relatively low tax environment and Congress can sometime again raise rates in the future. In other words your taxable income could possibly go down in retirement while the current tax bracket that you fall-in could increase.
A comprehensive fee-only CFP® professional can help you with your specific situation.
An emergency fund should provide 6-9 months of living expenses, and 3-6 months if you live in a dual income household with a working spouse. The purpose is to have cash accessible at any given moment for unexpected expenses. It’s not IF something will occur, but WHEN. You don’t want to invest in something that may fluctuate in value and be down when you need to access it. Therefore you’re limited to ultra short term investments like a money market fund. You could also ladder CDs, a concept where you purchase a separate CD consecutively for 6 months for example. After 6 months you will have one CD mature each month thereafter. If you need the income then you can cash it in when the CD matures, otherwise you can reinvest it for another 6 months. In theory this would provide you with more interest, however with interest rates currently so low a money market fund will likely provide a better return.
You could pay down the car loan sooner, however with a low interest rate you sound disciplined enough to save the money diligently and can put the savings to work better in another investment vehicle that would provide a higher return. You should have 3-6 months of expenses in liquid savings and your $30k may very well be sufficient. I would also suggest (if eligible based on income) maxing out your Roth IRA's by contributing $5500 per year and diversifying into several low expense mutual funds. Contributions to a Roth IRA can be withdrawn anytime without tax or penalty so this provides an additional cushion if need be, but should really be a last resort since this money is earmarked for retirement. You didn't mention your housing status as this could also be a source for funding a new home. Depending on your shorter term goals, putting money into IRAs and tax deferred retirement savings can provide you with better leverage in growing your assets long-term. If however you'll need your savings in a few years, it's important to match your investment risk to your time horizon and you would be wise to save in a brokerage account or bank outside of your retirement.
Building an emergency savings account is a great accomplishment. You always need to have some hay in the barn to protect yourself from the unexpected...It's not 'if' an unexpected expense will occur but 'when'. To begin budgeting you need to carefully keep precise track of all of your expenses and income. You need to know where your money is coming in from and where it is going. It's a behavior change that you need to work on reinforcing. First identify your basic expenses like your rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance, etc. You need to budget and pay these first. You can then budget for your discretionary expenses once you know how much is left over each month. To do this you can go old school with a simple spreadsheet or journal, and envelopes for your various discretionary expenses such as groceries, eating out, hobbies, etc. There are also various online tools such as mint.com, ynab.com; many financial professionals include budgeting tools as part of their financial planning services for clients as well.
I applaud you for seeking out ways to become financially successful. There are many things that you'll want to consider before you start investing. As a college student with little money, there are numerous non-investing steps that you can do first to enhance your financial life. For example, if you're like many students you may very well have student loan debt that is accumulating. You'll want to address this along with paying off any other other consumer debt that you may have. Regardless, managing cash-flow is critical as your expenses will only increase after college. Life happens with wanting to buy a new car, get married, but a house, have kids, etc....the expenses only increase and hopefully your income will as well, however it is much easier to build a solid foundation and build good money behaviors early on. You'll want learn how to make wise financial decisions. Investing is an important and large piece of the puzzle but comes after you have addressed the other fundamentals like building an emergency cash reserve, paid off debt, have proper insurance protection, built good credit, etc.
Some of the books that I would highly recommend that positively helped me in my 20's is The Millionaire Next Door (Thomas Stanley) and the sequel, The Millionaire Mind by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. Also, the Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is another excellent read that will be a wise investment in your future self.